"No, we cannot describe it. Only an angel could. We poor human creatures with great difficulty and fragmentarily can give some impression of the effect. The supernatural with its ineffable sweetness is not attainable through any sufficiency of our own. As a seminarian at the American College of Louvain, Belgium, I found the mass of the famous Cardinal Mercier, of the First World War, used to thrill me, but the mass of Padre Pio turned me into a dumbfounded St. Peter watching Christ resurrect the dead Lazarus.
At the moment that Pio makes the sign of the Cross at the foot of the altar of St. Francis of Assisi, his face is transfigured. He is no longer the simple smiling priest who celebrates the divine sacrifice, but he is the man of God, chosen to give testimony of His existence, chosen to collaborate with Jesus in the continued martyrdom of the five wounds of the Passion the priest who with Jesus is crucified and, let us dare say, dies mystically in each mass with Him..."
"Christ is Padre Pio, and Padre Pio is Christ an alter Christus...And yet how few of our priests and bishops take time out to travel to this theater of our century's greatest drama..."
"How shall we explain otherwise the suffering that is reflected on the face of this Alter Christus, the anguished contractions of his body, the strained effort to raise himself up, leaning his bleeding hands on the altar after genuflections, as if on his back there were really the weight of Christ's cross? And the prolonged ecstasies like Christ transfigured on Mount Thabor, and that ravishment that takes him out of this world of materialistic chaos. And the motions of his head, the signs of smiles of consent which make him glow as his petitions for his spiritual children around his feet make his Christ smile in approval. And suddenly, then the twist of his face, the burst of tears--and, oh, what tears that bathe the sleeves of his alb as he struggles with frequency to retrain himself? Would you not then, love to rush up with tears coursing your cheeks and give him the fraternal filial embrace of a St. John with his Divine Friend? Having seen Padre Pio seven times in this state, I can truthfully say I have the privilege of seeing my Christ crucified.
Spiritual Maxims of Padre Pio
- Through the study of books one seeks God; by meditation one finds Him.
- The life of a Christian is nothing but a perpetual struggle against self; there is no flowering of the soul to the beauty of its perfection except at the price of pain.
- Speaking of temptations he said: "If you succeed in overcoming temptation, this has the effect of washing on dirty clothes."
- Whoever does not meditate, is like someone who never looks in the mirror before going out, doesn't bother to see if he's tidy, and may go out dirty without knowing it.
- The person who meditates and turns his mind to God, who is the mirror of his soul, seeks to know his faults, tries to correct them, moderates his impulses, and puts his conscience in order.
- If we are calm and persevering, we shall find not only ourselves, but our souls, and with that, God Himself.
- On Mortifications: Our body is like an ass which we must beat, but not too much because otherwise it will fall down and it won't carry us any more.
- The demon has only one door by which to enter into our soul: the will; there are no secret doors. No sin is a sin if not committed with the will. When there is no action of the will, there is no sin, but only human weakness.
- On being excessively distressed by one's sins: That which you feel is pride; it is the demon which inspires you with this sentiment, it is not true sorrow."
- On distinguishing what comes from God and what comes from the devil: The spirit of God is a spirit of peace, and also in the case of grave sin, it makes us feel a tranquil sorrow humble, confident, and this is due precisely to His mercy. The spirit of the demon, on the contrary, excites, exasperates, and makes us in our sorrow feel something like anger against ourselves, whereas our first charity must be to ourselves, and so if certain thoughts agitate you, this agitation never comes from God, w ho gives you tranquility, being the Spirit of Peace. Such agitation comes from the devil.
- On our responsibility for the salvation of someone's soul: Try with love, lots of love, spending all you have, and if that is useless...rebuke him. Christ who is our model has taught us so, since He created Paradise and also Hell.
- A good scolding or slap given dutifully is sometimes more in order than a kindly reminder. On several occasions the Father said to his spiritual children at San Giolvanni Rotondo: "Beatings and bread make beautiful boys."
- Before sanctifying others, sanctify yourself.
- All human ideas, no matter from where they come, have their good and bad points; one must assimilate all the good in them and offer them to God, and eliminate the bad.
- All prayers are good, when these are accompanied by the right intention and good will.
- Prayer should be insistent when insistence denotes faith.
- Man is so full of pride that when he has everything he needs and good health, he believes himself a god, and superior to God himself, but when something happens and he can do nothing, and others can't do anything about it either, only then he will remember that there is a Supreme Being.
- God enriches the soul which empties itself of everything.
- In the spiritual life one must always go on pushing ahead and never go backwards; if not, the same thing happens as to a boat which when it loses headway gets blown backwards with the wind.
- It is not a loss of patience if one ask Jesus to take away pain, when this becomes insupportable to us and beyond our strength, nor does one lose the merit of the suffering which is offered, by asking this of God.
- Beneficence, from wherever it may come, is always the child of teh same mother, that is Providence.
- The lie is the child of the demon.
- The habit of asking 'Why" has ruined the world.
- Humility is truth, truth is humility.
- Remember always that God sees everything.
- Prayer is the best armor we have, it is the key which opens the heart of God.
- Remember that the axis of perfection is charity; who lives centered in charity, lives in God, because God is charity, as the Apostle said.
- On sanctifying oneself: Separate yourself from the world.
- A mother in the beginning teaches a child to walk holding onto it, but afterwards the child has to walk alone. You must learn to use your own reasoning powers.
- Sin against charity is like piercing God in the pupil of the eye. What is more delicate than the pupil of the eye? To sin against charity is like a sin against nature.
- A good heart is always strong, it suffers, but with tears it is consoled by sacrificing itself for its neighbor and for God.
- Love and fear must go united together, fear without love becomes cowardice. Love without fear becomes presumption. When there is love without fear, love runs without prudence and without restraint, without taking care where it is going."
- Always have prudence and love, for these two must stay together. Prudence has the eyes, love the legs.
- Where there is no obedience there is no virtue, where there is no virtue there is not good, where there is no good there is no love, where there is no love, there is no God, and where there is no God there is no Paradise.
- The Cross will not crush you; if its weight makes you stagger, its power will also sustain you.
- Humility and purity are the wings which carry us to God and make us almost divine. Remember: that a bad man who is ashamed of the wrong thing he is doing, is nearer to God than a good man who bushes at doing the right thing.
- To his spiritual son: "I have bought you with the price of my blood."
- In the spiritual life, the more you run the less you get tired; moreover, peace, the prelude to eternal joy, will come upon us, and we shall be happy and strong according to the extent that we live in t his study of making Jesus live in us, and of mortifying ourselves.
- The doors of paradise are open to every human creature, remember Mary Magdalene!
- Charity is the measure by which Our Lord judges all things.
- Time spent in honor of God and for the salvation of souls is never badly spent.
- Keep well dug into our minds thew words of Our Lord: In patience you will possess you soul.
- What does it matter to you whether Jesus wishes to guide you to heaven by way of the desert or by the fields, so long as you get there by one way or the other?
- Put away any excessive worrying which results from the trials by which the good God has desired to test you; and if this is not possible resign yourself to the Divine Will.
- It is just as well to make yourself at home with the suffering that Jesus is pleased to send you, as you must always live with them...
- The impetus to be in eternal peace is good and holy; but it must be moderated by complete resignation to the Divine Will.
= It is better to accomplish the Divine Will on earth than to rejoice in Paradise. To suffer and not die, was the motto of St. Teresa. Purgatory is sweet when one suffers for the love of God.
- The demon is like a dog on a chain; beyond the range of the cahin it cannot bite anyone. And you, therefore, keep your distance. If you get too near it will get you.
- Temptations, discomforts, worries are merchandise offered for sale by the enemy. Remember this: if the demon makes a lot of noise, it is a sign that he is still outside, and not inside. What should frighten us is when he is at peace and in harmony with our human soul.
- Your temptations come from the devil and hell but your suffering come from God and Paradise...Despise temptations and embrace tribulations...
- Let us climb Calvary without getting tired, carrying our Cross and be certain that the climb will lead us to the beatific vision of Our dear Savior.
- If Jesus manifests Himself to you, thank Him; if He hides Himself from you, thank Him likewise...
- I hope you will persevere to death with Christ on the Cross, and that at the end you will softly exclaim with him: Consummatum est! (It is finished).
- Divine Goodness does not only not reject penitent souls, but goes out in search of obstinate souls.
- Have patience in the perseverance of the holy exercise of meditation, and be content to being by making little steps until you have legs to run with, or rather wings to fly with.
- Content yourself with just making an act of obedience with is never a thing of little importance for a souls who has chosen God for her portion, and resign yourself for the time being to be little baby bee in the hive, which soon will become a a full-grown bee, able to make honey.
- The heart of our Divine Master knows only the loving law of sweetness, humility and charity...
- Put your trust often in the Divine Providence of God, and be certain that rather will heaven and earth pass away than that our Lord should fail to protect you.
- Walk with simplicity in the way of the Lord and do not torment your spirit.
- You must hate your sins, but with a tranquil hate, not worryingly or restlessly.
- Rest like the Virgin on the Cross of Jesus and you will not be deprived of comfort...
Excerpts from Padre Pio the Stigmatist by Father Charles Mortimer Carty